Jewish Germany is like Hawaii.
On the surface, everything is excellent and sunny. You can spend a marvelous time. The place is almost a paradise. But beneath the surface is a constant flow of lava and the crust of the earth is thin. The likelihood to experience an eruption is high.
We experienced some small eruptions in the past: Shechita, circumcision, a debate about drawing a line under the “shoah issue”.
But there always was some kind of political support for Jewish life in Germany.
This time the eruptions are much more intensive.
With the beginning of Operation Protective Edge Germany’s Jews witnessed aggressive “pro-Palestinian” rallies in many cities. In Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Dortmund and Gelsenkirchen protesters waved Palestinian, Turkish and Lebanese Flags, a hint to their ethnic roots and a mere demonstration of national proud mixed with anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism. The crowd was very special. Adherents of a special form of youth culture: young Muslims without prospects, over-identification with the Middle-East conflict, who use the word “Jew” as an insult.
In order to prevent these unforeseen massive eruptions, Germany had to take responsibility for these young people years before: through better education and participation. Today there are local projects, trying to steer the young people away from the influences of anti-Semites and extremists, but their influence is limited to their cities and neighborhoods.
So what happened and changed paradise – again – into limbo?
In Frankfurt police allowed protesters to climb inside a police car to use the megaphone and shout “Child murderer Israel” which is quite popular on these “peace rallies”. In Gelsenkirchen people shouted slogans like “Hamas, Hamas, Jews into the gas”. In Essen protesters tried to reach the “Old synagogue”, one of the largest testimonies to Jewish culture in pre-war Germany, but police forces blocked the way. In the year 2000 protestors already threw stones at the “Old Synagogue” and tried to storm it.
But Jewish Germany has not only experienced verbal anti-Semitism. In Frankfurt an anti-Semitic piece of graffiti was sprayed onto the “Baumweg synagogue”, in Dresden also. In Gelsenkirchen a gully cover was thrown into a window of the local synagogue.
While things are getting rough, the silence of local and national political leaders is disturbing. Is violence, verbally or physically against Jewish institutions or people acceptable?
Are Jews currently safe in Germany?